It’s important to know why you write – or so I’ve heard. That’s a common belief, I think, but I doubt I’m a rarity in being ignorant on this one. So, pick a quote, either from Rocky Horror (I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey) or the Mighty Boosh (Come with us now on a journey through time and space), and read as I sluice through the mud in my mind in search of that golden nugget of reason. I’m sure I’ll be able to bin a few candidates, at least.
Here’s a comment on my previous post from David Hunter, which links in almost too well:
‘I don’t know why we write either, but Isaac Asimov summed it up pretty well:
“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.”
This is Asimov’s reason but it’s a tad melodramatic for me. I don’t believe I would die if I stopped writing. Nor do I believe I have no choice in the matter. I could stop if I wanted to. I just don’t want to. OK, sometimes I think I want to – I can see the benefits – but I don’t really want to. Why?
It’s not fun. Not for me, anyway. OK, yes, sometimes it is but not most of the time. I don’t even enjoy it most of the time, not these days. I’m not saying I hate it – I never hate writing. It’s more that it tends to be an up-mountain struggle and that just isn’t fun.
Having never earned a penny from writing, I doubt this is it. Sure, I would like to – I do aspire to be a professional, after all, but I don’t expect to make much – all I’d want is enough to scrape a living on. Besides, I’ve never been that interested in money.
In my previous post, I mentioned that I don’t remember writing that first story but I do remember showing it to my mum, which would suggest that praise comes into it. I do get a squirmy sort of pleasure out of praise, I’ll admit, but I’m sure I’d still write if I never showed anyone my work (or showed them but never got any praise). Besides, other people’s opinions don’t effect me that much, in terms of how I feel about a piece. I don’t think this is that golden nugget.
To Be Read
Yes, I intend almost everything I write to be read and I think of potential readers when I’m writing but would I still write if I knew I wouldn’t be read? Yes. I do have an online portfolio but I only use it to gain feedback – in fact, whenever I receive a comment that doesn’t point out any faults I tend to dismiss it. I don’t care if you tell me you loved it – I just want to know how to make it better.
To Be ‘A Writer’
I like the idea of being ‘a writer’ – always have. Of course, the reality isn’t so romantic but I’m living the reality, here. You don’t have to write to go about calling yourself ‘a writer’ – you could have written one thing years ago to do that. I’m afraid I’m in deeper than that.
This is an afterthought. I’d planned this post out, you see, and only thought of this candidate when I wrote ‘I could stop if I wanted to. I just don’t want to.’ – screamed ‘addict’ at me. Thing is, though, I believe I could stop if I wanted to – I know, I sound like an addict again, but addicts can stop…not that that’s the point. I’m not one of those writer’s who get twitchy or emotional if they don’t get their fix of writing. At least, I don’t think I am…
I Just Do
The core of it is, writing is something I have always done and, probably, will always do. Maybe it’s just part of who I am. That might not be enough of a reason for those who insist you need to know your individual motives to be a good writer, but it’s enough for me. Why do you need to know, anyway? How does knowing make you a better writer? Maybe it helps some people but I don’t think it would help me. I write. That’s all I need to know. That and I could stop if I wanted to.